No One Scapegoating Hatchell

When the NCAA leveled devastating penalties on the Penn State football program in 2012, the NCAA also declared Penn State football players would be permitted to transfer without the NCAA’s standard transfer restrictions. Onlookers expected a massive exodus of players, but that exodus never happened. Some players left, but the Penn State coaching staff was able to retain most.

The same cannot be said for the UNC women’s basketball staff, and they haven’t even received NCAA penalties yet.

Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s contract extends three more years, to 2018. Three other UNC coaches, including women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy, received contract extensions earlier this summer, but Hatchell did not. Her supporters and other commentators have subsequently claimed UNC is denying her an extension because they are scapegoating her for the paper-class scandal.

Yet those supporters and commentators overlook the fact that women’s basketball appears to be losing the entirety of its heralded 2013 recruiting class.

Of the four players from that class, we only know second-hand that one of them chose to leave for reasons related to the scandal. However, having worked with women’s basketball players while I was a learning specialist at UNC, I know that some of them were never quite content at UNC since the assistant coach who recruited them decided to leave before their first year. A number of players never felt as connected to the remaining coaches.

No one from UNC Athletics has blamed Hatchell and her staff for the paper-class scandal, and no one should. Neither Hatchell nor any coach at UNC was involved in creating or perpetuating the paper classes. The argument that UNC is scapegoating Hatchell is both a misguided attempt by her supporters to shame Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham into granting her an extension, and an intellectually dishonest ploy by anti-athletics crusaders who want to see men’s basketball and football take all the blame.

Hatchell deservedly has had former players publicly support her. From what I know of her, she has been an honorable and successful coach for many years. However, the players whose support matters most are those who will be playing for other schools next year.

Chansky’s Notebook: Chizik’s Challenge

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

Gene Chizik sounds good, but can he change a really bad Carolina defense?

UNC’s new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is all positive in a recent interview with Lee Pace in Extra Points. He won a national championship at Auburn, then got fired, then took two years off, then came to Carolina. So far, so good in everything Chizik says about his Tar Heel experience.

The all-new defensive staff, which Chizik helped Larry Fedora hire, has not only changed the scheme back to a 4-3 but apparently has changed the attitude. They even hired a 31-year-old coach, Tray Scott, who hopefully is a social media whiz since that’s today’s way to communicate with college players and recruits.
Chizik spent the first two days with his defense not talking football, but talking commitment and life. He says he wants he players to be solid citizens off the field and smart, hard-knockers on. Of course, he’s already lost cornerback Malik Simmons to an indefinite suspension for possession of pot and running away from the police. Hopefully, all the other guys will get the hint.

Chizik seems happy, even though his family has remained in Auburn while his kids finish high school. But why not? He gets a fresh start at a school in a different league and has been a great spokesman for how UNC does it the right way after a mistake-filled period before Fedora arrived. He says selling Carolina is not hard, despite some bad publicity still lingering from the NCAA investigation.

And Chizik even has Carolina ties. His deceased father is from Asheville, where he played high school football with Charlie Justice and went off to war with Choo Choo. So Chizik loves to see the statue of Justice outside the football center every day when he comes to work. But whether Chizik and his new defense will be deemed a success is all on the field, beginning Sept. 3 in Charlotte against South Carolina. The initial job of improvement should be easy, since the Tar Heels were among the worst defenses in the ACC and country last season. But making them good enough to contend for a conference championship is a completely different matter. That’s when what Gene Chizik did and didn’t do at Auburn won’t count.

It’s all about building the consistent defense that has been lacking here, save the heyday seasons of Mack Brown and Bill Dooley, for five decades.

Suspect in Triple-Fatal Crash Released on $1 Million Bond

Chandler Michael Kania been released from the Orange County jail after posting bond, according to his attorney.

The 20-year-old Kania was being held under a $1 million bond while he faces three counts of second-degree murder, among other charges, in connection with a triple-fatal crash on I-85 last Sunday, July 19.

READ MORE: Bond Stays at $1 Million in Triple-Fatal Crash

Roger Smith Jr., one of two attorneys representing Kania, told WCHL that, “his family has taken him home to Asheboro where he will be under house arrest.”

Kania – who is a rising junior at UNC – is accused of driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing head on into a 2007 Suzuki, killing three of the four passengers; 49-year-old Felicia Harris; 46-year-old Darlene McGee; and six-year-old Jahnice Baird. Nine-year-old Jahnia King was the lone survivor from the Suzuki; she suffered two broken bones in her left leg and a broken right collarbone, according to officials.

READ MORE: Kania Charged with 3 Counts of 2nd Degree Murder

Smith went on to say in the statement that Kania would immediately seek medical care and physical therapy for his broken right ankle, broken left foot, and broken left arm.

He adds that, once he has recovered from his injuries and is physically able, he will focus on other areas of treatment.

READ MORE: Head-On Collision on I-85 Kills Three

Judge Charles Anderson said at a hearing on Monday that he would only consider lowering the bond if attorneys agreed Kania would be placed in an alcohol treatment facility.

Smith says Chandler and the Kania family continue to grieve and mourn for the victims and their families.

READ MORE: Kania Family “Devastated” After Crash

Kania’s next court appearance is slated for August 10.

Bond Stays at $1 Million in Triple Fatal Crash

A judge denied the request that the bond be lowered in the triple-fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 last Sunday, July 19.

Roger Smith Jr. and Wade Smith appeared on behalf of 20-year-old Chandler Michael Kania in Orange County Court, on Monday, to appeal to Judge Charles Anderson for a lower bond.

“The plan would be for him to go home to his family in Asheboro, where he has the support there,” Roger Smith says. “Any other conditions that you want to impose on him, which I know you did on last Thursday, curfew, electronic house arrest…a continuing alcohol monitoring device; any of those are just fine.

“But I certainly hope you would consider reducing the bond from where it currently sits, and I would suggest to the court – I hope it’s ok – that you would set a bond at $250,000.”

Anderson denied the request, leaving the bond as it was originally set at $1 million, as Kania’s mother cried from her seat in the courtroom.

READ MORE: Kania Charged with 3 Counts of 2nd-Degree Murder

Kania is charged with three counts of second-degree murder among a litany of other charges related to the crash. He is accused of drunkenly driving the wrong way on Interstate 85 for nearly six miles before crashing head on into another vehicle, killing three of the four passengers.

Search warrants released on Monday show investigators believe Kania used a fake ID to drink alcohol at La Residence and He’s Not Here.

In arguing for a bond reduction, Smith touted Kania’s past – including serving as Student Body President at Asheboro High School and his lack of a criminal history.

But Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman put forward the state still considered Kania a danger to himself and others, as well as a flight risk – even though Kania has surrendered his passport.

“I concede there’s not a history of flight,” Nieman says. “But as I said on Thursday, those who would say he has no reason to flee would have also said there’s no reason to believe that he would have been operating a motor vehicle impaired by alcohol and killing three people last Sunday morning.”

Nieman adds he considers the state’s case to be very strong and Kania could face up to 65 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

READ MORE: Head-On Collision on I-85 Kills Three

Kania was not present in the courtroom Monday as he recovers from surgery on a broken right ankle, broken left foot, and broken left arm.

Nine-year-old Jahnia King is the lone survivor of the car struck by Kania’s 2005 Jeep Wrangler; she suffered two broken bones in the lower left leg and a broken right collarbone, according to Nieman’s statement last Thursday.

49-year-old Felicia Harris, 46-year-old Darlene McGee, and six-year-old Jahnice Baird were all killed in the crash.

Bakojo Oguntola is McGee’s cousin. He spoke after the hearing.

“I’m happy that the judge decided to hold the bond where it is,” he says. “It’s quite evident that the guy is guilty of the charges.”

But Oguntola adds his family doesn’t hold any malice in their hearts toward Kania or his family.

“He’s a victim as well, but like I said earlier, he’s a victim of his choices,” Oguntola says. “He’s a victim of the choices that he made. And he’s a murderer. A drunk driver.

“And we’ve seen this scenario so many times in this country. He’s a drunk driver. Whether he’s 20, 30, 40, or 50, it still comes out to be the same thing.”

Oguntola says he is at the hearing to fight for justice for those killed.

“There’s no mystery that privileged people have a way of pushing things under the rug,” he says. “And there has to be accountability.

“And we choose to be here to make sure that we have an eye on the situation; that in case family have an opportunity to speak up, then our voices can be heard – because Darlene’s voice cannot be heard. But we can speak on her behalf.”

He adds the family is still in mourning and they will keep Kania’s relatives in their thoughts.

“My heart goes out to his family, to his mother, and his father, his siblings, because they’re suffering a loss as well,” he says. “But it doesn’t negate the loss that we’re dealing with. It doesn’t negate the six-year-old. It doesn’t negate Darlene.

“Darlene doesn’t have a criminal record. Darlene worked two jobs. She was just a good person.”

READ MORE: Kania Family “Devastated” After Crash

Anderson said, during the initial appearance last Thursday, the case involved unimaginable horror. He followed up that statement, on Monday, with more questions about what we should be doing as a society to prevent these losses in the future.

“It begs the question, ‘What are we doing wrong in this world?’” he asks. “On college campuses all over the state and all over the country, we’re not better preparing our most privileged, intelligent, entitled children on how to handle alcohol.”

Anderson did say he was open to reducing the bond if the attorneys agreed for Kania to attend a rehab facility upon his release.

Kania’s next court appearance is set for August 10.

Gov. Martin Claims He Misspoke on UNC Scandal

Former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin now says he misspoke about the UNC scandal when he told trustees: “This was not an athletic scandal. It was an academic scandal, which is worse; but an isolated one.”

These revelations were put forward in a new book slated for an October release that was previewed by the News & Observer of Raleigh.

Martin delivered the now-in-question comments nearly three years ago after a four-month investigation into academic irregularities stemming from the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

In the new book, “Catalyst: Jim Martin and the Rise of North Carolina Republicans,” Martin says, “I could have said, ‘Not only is it an extraordinary athletic scandal, but it is also an incredibly damaging academic scandal.’”

Martin’s investigation found that the so-called “paper classes” dated back into the 1990’s. But more information was found during the UNC-commissioned Wainstein Report that was released in 2014.

Wainstein, a former top official with the US Justice Department, had access to personnel involved in the paper classes that Martin did not have access to during his investigation.

The book was written by John Hood, President of the John William Pope Foundation and Chair of the Conservative think tank John Locke Foundation, and is mainly a biography of Martin.

UNC: Alert Carolina Failure is ‘Unacceptable’

UNC officials have completed a review of the Alert Carolina system after a failure in alerting the campus of two armed robberies last week.

Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt called the communication breakdown “unacceptable” in an informational message sent out to the UNC campus, on Friday.

The message was a follow up after the Alert Carolina messaging system was put through a review because it failed to quickly alert the campus community of two armed robberies last Wednesday.

READ MORE: Alert Carolina Late to Alarm Students of 2 Armed Robberies

UNC says part of the notification system worked as planned when the robberies were reported just before 11 o’clock. All of the six sirens sounded after being activated by the Department of Public Safety and broadcasted short pre-recorded voice messages about the initial threat and the “all clear” message that was to come. The statement says officers also quickly secured the crime scene and set up a perimeter in close coordination with Chapel Hill police.

But the remainder of the alert system failed; a text message to registered cell phones, an e-mail, and posts on the official university social media platforms were all delayed by an estimated 45 minutes, which caused some confusion as to the seriousness of the alert sirens.

A review of the system found two human errors, compounded with a computer glitch, caused the problem. The human errors have not been specified by Carolina at this time.

University officials say they are working to refine and improve the Alert Carolina system in order to maintain the safety of individuals on and around campus.

The system will be tested on August 26 as part of the annual fall siren test.

READ MORE: Chapel Hill, Durham Police Team Up to Solve Recent Armed Robbery Cases

Authorities with UNC, Chapel Hill, and Duke are still working to identify suspects in armed robbery cases with similar circumstances that have occurred across both campuses and in the town.

UNC Football Player Suspended After Arrest

UNC Senior Cornerback Malik Simmons has been suspended indefinitely after being arrested on a charge of misdemeanor resisting arrest on Wednesday.

Chapel Hill Police told WCHL that officers responded to a call of a disturbance at 120 East Franklin Street around just before two o’clock Wednesday morning. The initial disturbance was due to an unknown suspect discharging a firearm during a large disturbance. Police confirmed that Simmons did not fire the handgun listed in the report.

Police say Simmons was arrested for fleeing the scene when police arrived.

He was arrested and released after posting a one thousand dollar secured bond. His court date is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Simmons also has a court date on August 3 on a misdemeanor charge for possession of marijuana.

Kania Charged with 3 Counts of 2nd Degree Murder

The 20-year-old UNC student charged in the fatal crash on I-85 on Sunday made his first court appearance on Thursday.

Chandler Michael Kania was taken directly from UNC Hospitals to the Orange County Courthouse to appear before District Judge Charles Anderson. After being wheeled into the courtroom, Kania was served with additional felony charges including three counts of second-degree murder.

Kania Court_2




“The allegation is that he did unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously, with malice aforethought kill and murder Felicia Harris.”

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman repeated those words, “the allegation is that he did unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously, with malice aforethought kill and murder” the other two victims who died in the crash – 46-year-old Darlene McGee and six-year-old Jahnice Baird.

READ MORE: Kania Family “Devastated” After Crash

Nieman announced other felony charges against Kania.

“He is also charged with three counts of felony death by vehicle,” Nieman adds. “He is also charged with felony serious injury by vehicle, allegation being he did cause serious injury – two broken bones in the lower left leg and a broken right collarbone to the person of Jahnia King.”

The nine-year-old King is the lone surviving passenger from the 2007 Suzuki Kania’s vehicle collided with.

via Orange County Sheriff's Office

via Orange County Sheriff’s Office










Kania’s mother sat in the back of the courtroom, sometime audibly crying, along with his father.

Nieman says malice was shown in the case, in part, by the distance Kania traveled in the wrong direction on I-85 before the fatal crash around three o’clock Sunday morning near mile marker 163.

“Based on eyewitness accounts, he was traveling that direction of travel for – we believe at this time – at least six miles,” he says. “At least one witness indicates that he was going ‘not slow.’”

“Those vehicles [driven by Harris and Kania] met basically perfectly head on.”

READ MORE: Head-On Collision on I-85 Kills Three

Nieman adds after the crash the 20-year-old from Asheboro gave officers the I.D. of another individual, who was over 21 years of age. He says Kania went to at least two bars before the accident and others with Kania the night of the crash attempted to keep him from driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler.

“There are eyewitness accounts of his behavior from earlier in the night in which at least one and as many as five people, before he decided to get in the vehicle in Chapel Hill, attempted to physically restrain him,” he says, “and that he fought physically with at least one of those people – knocking at least one of those people to the ground.”

Nieman says another person attempted to take his keys but was unsuccessful before ultimately taking Kania’s cell phone in hopes to keep him from leaving.

Nieman called Kania a danger to himself and others as well as a flight risk and asked the judge to set the bond at $1.5 million.

Judge Anderson settled on bond at $1 million.

“This case represents almost unimaginable horror and loss and tragedy,” he says, “and is an indictment, in many ways, of the world we live in and the world we tolerate.”

If Kania does post bond, the judge imposed conditions that Kania submit to electronic house arrest, not to consume alcohol, submit to a curfew between eight o’clock at night and eight in the morning, and have no contact with investigators, victims, or possible witnesses in the case.

The only time Kania spoke at the hearing was to agree to waive his right to a public defender and to say he did not have any questions for the judge.

If convicted on all charges, Kania could face between 40 and 50 years in prison.

Kania’s attorney was not present at the hearing and a court review to ensure he has legal counsel is scheduled to take place on Monday.

Jersey Mike’s Hosting Fundraiser Today

Head to Jersey Mike’s Subs on Elliott Road or at Chapel Hill North on MLK Blvd. on Thursday, and 25 percent of your purchase will go to a local man who is raising money for medical care. Kevin Schaefer has spinal muscular atrophy and that’s cost him most of the use of his arms. He’s trying to raise $50,000 for a JACO Robotic Arm. Schaefer joined WCHL’s Ron Stutts Thursday morning, along with local Jersey Mike’s co-owner Brendan Turk. Here his story below:



UNC Research: Daily Pill Allows HIV Patients to Live “Normal Life”

UNC researchers have found the use of a combination of AIDS medications can help prevent the transmission of HIV through sexual activity. Doctor Myron Cohen is the Director of the Institute for Global Health and Infections Diseases at UNC. He told WCHL’s Blake Hodge more about the discovery.

This work will continue to find a cure with the joint company launched by UNC and GlaxoSmithKline, which was announced earlier this year.